Australia's Top 100 Young Entrepreneurs 41-50

Australia's Top 100 Young Entrepreneurs 41-50

41. Nathan Rust (37) & Leigh Rust (39)

Safetyline Jalousie

Sydney

Brothers Nathan and Leigh Rust are opening up new partnerships and product lines for their booming high-end louvre business Safetyline Jalousie.

A partnership with Darley Aluminium lifted sales in FY20 and now the pair are in talks to secure similar deals in the construction space with modular builders for off-site buildings.

Leigh Rust says the company has honed in on where its product is most suitable, leading to a higher proportion of sales in the education and health sectors with organic growth.

He believes government stimulus will help carry the next four years of growth, but Safetyline Jalousie is also broadening its horizon in new ways with two new products to be rolled out.

"One of the new product lines should allow us to double in revenue very quickly in a three-year period," he says.

That new product is a large blade louvre for commercial buildings.

"It'll go on podiums and facades in big office buildings; big high-rise buildings where it's a real feature," says the entrepreneur.

"The only other product on the market is the German product, so we'll basically be able to bring all that German technology and all that German look and feel, but it's manufactured out of Sydney."

In preparation for expected growth, Safetyline Jalousie has secured a site at Mona Vale in Sydney's Northern Beaches which is double the size of its current site.


42. Jonathan Moody (39)

Physio Inq

Sydney

Driven by a passion to provide better care to patients, Jonathan Moody started his own physiotherapy clinic at 24 and after a few years he had already acquired or started four more.

By the time a decade had passed in 2016, his Physio Inq franchise had grown to nine clinics across Sydney, Melbourne and Perth, and Moody was on the cusp of launching what has since become the group's main revenue source.

"In 2016, I was inspired by an employee's difficult personal experience when needing to care for her daughter with an acquired brain injury and launched Physio Inq's Mobile & Community Services," says Moody.

"With a strong focus on providing allied health services to people in aged and disability care, this arm of the business has seen tremendous growth and now includes in excess of 100 mobile practitioners and therapists across Australia.

"Health care is often at times tragically inaccessible to people in aged or disability care, whether the individual is completely immobile or has no transportation method; these are just some of the issues that can be solved with mobile therapists who can treat clients in-home or in facilities."

In parallel, the bricks-and-mortar franchise has reached 13 and Moody now has an ambition to lift that to 100 within three years.

Physio Inq's strategy is to enter new markets with the mobile care business first, before finding franchisees so long as they're the right fit.

"We're brutal around culture," he says.

The company expanded into the Tasmanian market for the first time this year, while the next frontier will likely be the Northern Territory.


43. Mathew Stillone (36)

Integrity Food Co, Stillone Investment Group

Brisbane

Matthew Stillone's company Integrity Food Co overcame its slowest January on record in 2020 with a strategy that would pay off handsomely later in the year.

The company finished 2019 on a high and had been working on the development of a new soy-free, gluten-free vegan mince range called Flexible Foods.

Through forward thinking and planning for a robust digital sales plan, Integrity Food Co's online sales doubled this past year.

The entrepreneur hit a number of new milestones, seeing his brands Flexible Foods, Botanika Blends and Protein Supplies Australia stocked by Aldi and Coles.

Matthew was also invited to be an Amazon Australia direct wholesale customer; a coup considering online shopping has been booming this year.

These deals will see more Australians get access to his variety of products including Botanika Blends's plant-based protein products and Protein Supplies Australia's range of high-quality protein goodies.

In total, Integrity Food Co launched 22 new products in 2020. Pretty good considering the challenging environment.


 

44. Daniel Holden (40)

HoldenCAPITAL

Brisbane

Daniel Holden has developed a reputation for getting projects over the line with construction capital, but a new investor platform is taking the business to the next level.

As the result of two years of hard work and significant R&D spend, HoldenCAPITAL Partners now has $100 million worth of funds under management since launching the new platform.

"We are a full-service capital partner to elite property developers, helping them source the best funding form major banks and private capital markets to fund their real estate projects," says Holden.

"Our network of private capital investors both domestically and throughout Asia give us the ability to structure project finance to suit most projects and satisfy the risk and reward of both parties."

With offices in Brisbane, Melbourne, Sydney and Hong Kong, HoldenCapital is also in negotiations with a suitor for a potential acquisition.


45. Robert Gray (31) & Andrew Gray (35)

Graya Construction, Graya Developments

Brisbane

Robert and Andrew Gray are making waves in the Brisbane property scene, targeting the high end of the market with a fresh approach underscored by strong relationships with the city's leading up-and-comer architects.

Robert Gray highlights a couple of successes in 2020 including the development approval (DA) for the multi-residential development Maison in Newfarm, as well as the sale of a luxury home on the city's Hamilton Hill.

He says the company's point of difference is its young team that is hungry for new ideas with the ability to adapt quicker.

"We're aligning ourselves with some of the biggest consultants and the biggest brands in the city...architecturally our formula is to be iconic, to be different and to stand out," says Gray.

He expects a big growth spurt for the company now that it is expanding into the multi-res space, where "the sky's the limit".


46. Sean Connolly (39) & Lachlan Adams (39)

FWR Brands

Gold Coast

In the past year, Sean Connolly and Lachlan Adam's business underwent a major corporate restructure.

From their existing power product retailer My Generator, which is one of Australia's largest suppliers of portable energy to the camping and RV space, FWR Brands was born.

The new parent company was established when the pair acquired Caravan RV Camping, an appliance, accessories, and spare parts store for the outdoor explorer.

"Today we are number one in terms of the Australian online market share for the caravan and RV market," the duo state.

Their e-commerce empire has experienced year-on-year growth and has successfully ridden the COVID-19 wave, even though the camping tourism industry in which it operates took a significant hit.


47. Jonathan Dwayre (40)

Orbitz Elevators

Gold Coast

When describing the beast that was COVID-19, and the effect it had on his elevator installation and maintenance empire, Jon Dwayre exhales and declares, "honestly, it was harder than starting the business."

Orbitz sources its top-grade Hitachi products from a factory in Guangzhou, China which, at the beginning of the year, temporarily went into a complete shut-down.

"But construction in Australia still continued, so you can imagine how severe the complications were for us as a business, not being able to supply builders their elevators due to the strict pandemic regulations," explains Dwayre.

Sleepless night after sleepless night, Dwayre's only focus was to find solutions to the mammoth problems of reducing overheads and retaining a workforce of more than 100 staff until business as usual resumed.

"Working closely with all senior management of the company, we established preventative action and contingency plans across all sectors of the business," he explains.

Under this plan, Orbitz re-assessed its financial position including cash flow, went over expenses with a fine-toothed comb and entered negotiations with its suppliers to prevent a build-up of materials.

It also sourced alternative production sites and diversified its products and services to include repairs and restorations as demanded by the market.

"By following this plan, we were able to cut close to $5 million in costs without impacting our personnel. We kept all our staff members during COVID-19 and avoided any reductions in staff hours."


48. Sean Barry (32) & James Strathdee (36)

One Power

Gold Coast

While the pandemic may have forced James Strathdee and Sean Barry to rapidly change certain sales practices within their solar power empire, it was a move that ended up strengthening the company's resolve.  

Prior to the outbreak, One Power's agents prided themselves on a personalised face-to-face sales approach.

When this became no longer possible, and with his company already grappling with a severe product delay out of China, Strathdee initially feared One Power was in for its biggest hit.

"We struggled with stock in February coming out of China, so we had to hedge our stock a couple of months ahead. That took a fair amount of juggling," he says.

"Then when COVID reached Australian shores no clients wanted our sales reps in the house."

The chips were down, yet the pair steered their company through.

"The unexpected advantages that came out of that was proving that we could do things differently in our industry, and having it be viable," says James.

"It led us to creating a whole new sales arm this year which solely sells over the phone and via Zoom we found it quite surprising that everyone actually performed just as well, if not better in that environment."

One Power now aims for explosive growth in the post-COVID era and aims to increase its turnover in Sydney alone by at least 50 per cent before March.


49. Peter Dodeja (32)

SAI Security, SAI Investments Group

Brisbane

COVID-19 threw a curveball at Peter Dodeja's business SAI Security Group as client budgets for guarding patrols shrank, especially in the construction sector where he has a strong presence.

"I thought if I could come up with a better alternative that is going to do the job in a better way and also save people money in pandemic, it would be a hit," he says.

That alternative was the concept of "virtual patrols" through an on-site camera system, that can send through a series of photos from footage to the police when the alarm goes off.

"It means they don't have to have a guard there 24-7. This saves so much in costing, and because it's linked to the police they can be there straight away," he says.

He says the business operates in Queensland, New South Wales and South Australia, and is also waiting on a tender for a client in Victoria. SAI Security's ability to thrive during 2020 has allowed it to acquire three businesses since March, with Dodeja highlighting an uptick in productivity with the new system.

The entrepreneur also has a passion for property, and since the age of 19 he has been building up a sizeable portfolio of residential and commercial shopping plaza assets - a skill he also teaches to a group of students.


50. Rob Hango-Zada (36) & William On (35)

Shippit

Sydney

Stitching the threads of international shipping and product distribution together is a migraine for most, but for the founders of Shippit a clever piece of technology is all it takes.

Established in 2014, Shippit was founded by two long-term friends William On and Rob Hango-Zada who studied together at the University of Sydney.

The pair have around two decades' worth of experience working in management and the fast moving consumer goods (FMGC) sector respectively between them, inspiring the development of Shippit.

Shippit provides fulfilment technology to retail giants in Australia including Sephora, Big W, Target and Temple & Webster.

The platform uses algorithms to help retailers match the best carrier for each delivery, saving clients money and improving their operational efficiency.

The group recently completed a $30 million Series B equity raise for Shippit's expansion into the South East Asian market, building on $11 million raised since 2017.

"E-commerce is how retail survives, revives and thrives," says On.

"Scalable logistics is one of the fundamental enablers for e-commerce in the APAC region and this capital will enable us to advance our core business of providing the technology retailers need to grow."


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